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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JUNE 2008)

Ethnopharmacological Approach in Herbal Drug Development

Dr. Papiya Bigoniya

Abstract: Traditional medicine has served as a source of alternative medicine, new pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. India is sitting on a gold mine of well-recorded and traditionally well-practiced knowledge of herbal medicine. Ayurveda the unique Indian system of medicine is now showing increasing popularity in rest of the world, as the people are getting aware of the benefits. The demand of plant derived products as medicine and health care products have tremendous need of plant based raw materials providing numerous opportunities for developing nations to advance rural well being. There is thus an enormous scope for India to emerge as a major player in the global herb based medicines and products by developing its research and development capability. There is an urgent need to carry out scientific evaluation of traditional medicines to provide sound basis to their folklore use. Ethnopharmacological survey of plants of a particular region or cultural group can act as a pre-screen in plant and further quantitative standardization, isolation, formulation development and other pre-clinical and clinical studies can be carried out. Ethnopharmacological documentation of plants in a scientific should be aimed at preservation and of conservation of medicinal plants and biological diversity. Sustained supply of medicinal plants can be assured by promotion ethical use of medicinal plant drugs, that will discourage unscrupulous collection and over exploitation of ethnomedicinal plants.

Introduction
Medicinal herbs as potential source of therapeutic aids has attained a significant role in health system all over the world for both humans and animals not only in the diseased condition but also as potential material for maintaining proper health. There has been a resurgence of interest on plants and plant products as a source of medicine in the last few decades. Herbal products have occupied a major part in curing different human ailments. Certain of these drugs have been known and are being used by man for many centuries, while others are still being isolated and evaluated. Medicinal plants are important for pharmacological research and drug development, not only when plant constituents are used directly as therapeutic agents, but also as starting materials for the synthesis of drugs or as models for pharmacologically active compounds. Herbal drugs have become one of the totems in this era of phytotherapy. The medicinal plants have enormous commercial potentials throughout the globe.

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